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Iowa Football: Hawks Jump to #16 in CFP Rankings

Iowa’s best performance of the year results in their highest CFP ranking in two years

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Amazing what a little bit of offense will do for you. The Iowa Hawkeyes were rewarded for their offensive explosion (relatively speaking) in their 22-0 victory over Rutgers by a sizeable jump in the latest CFP rankings.

It’s Iowa’s highest ranking in any poll this season, and their highest CFP placement since reaching #15 on December 5, 2021. The offense was certainly a welcome surprise that must have factored in to the decision. This Hawkeye offense suddenly put up a respectable 402 total yards in a game against a Rutgers team only allowing 294.4.

However, there is no doubt the defense and special teams are the main reason for the #16 ranking after a sterling shutout performance. I mentioned it last week but it bears repeating: defense and special teams should be given just as much weight in rankings as offense. That’s all too often not the case but it’s unfortunately the world we live in. It’s the reason why so many around the nation look at Iowa as an imposter, an interloper in the CFP ranking party. But the Hawks are where they are because of these two phases, and if the offense can just replicate the offense we saw in the second half last week they can go even higher.

Let’s take a look at the full rankings.

There’s a new #1 in town and it’s the Georgia Bulldogs. Their 52-17 thrashing of then-#9 Ole Miss coupled with their dominance in nearly every game has finally convinced the committee they belong at the top. Ohio State was ousted to #2 ahead of rival Michigan at #3. After enduring the suspension of Jim Harbaugh, those poor, beleaguered Wolverines managed to overcome so much adversity, scrutiny, oppression, and derision to pull out a win over Penn State. Surely, that game will live alongside the likes of the Miracle on Ice as one of the most uplifting in sports history.

Did the sarcasm come through on those last two sentences? Because this “Michigan vs. The World” garbage coming from Ann Arbor is getting a little hard to stomach,

Anywho, Michigan’s win over Penn State did nothing for them as they remain at #3. In fact, the movement at the top of the rankings is the only change among the top 8 teams. Quite frankly I’m not sure there’s really anything the teams outside the top four will be able to do about it. It looks increasingly likely that Florida State will get out of the ACC unbeaten and while Georgia still has to play Alabama in the SEC championship, I doubt they fall out unless maybe they get absolutely massacred. The biggest opportunity for movement will be The Game, where the loser could fall out of the top four, giving a chance to teams like Washington, Oregon, or even Alabama an opening.

Alabama v Kentucky Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With so many damn good teams stuck in traffic at the top with so few opportunities for change it might be the most fascinatingly unexciting playoff picture in years. Thank goodness for the coming 12-team model next year. Now watch as chaos ensues over the next two weeks and blows everything up.

What are your thoughts on Iowa’s place in the newest rankings, the teams at the top, or the rest of the field?